KATHMANDU, July 20: In a sign of deepening troubles in the ruling UCPN (Maoist), six of the seven former PLA division commanders have resigned en masse from their party posts, alleging that Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was hatching a conspiracy to make a few division commanders scapegoats for huge financial irregularities carried out by PLA commanders close to himself.
The PLA ex-commanders also demanded a thorough investigation against former PLA supreme commander and Maoist Chairman Dahal and deputy commanders Barshaman Pun, Nanda Kishor Pun and Janardan Sharma over embezzlements running into billions of rupees.
Sources close to the rapidly unfolding developments told Republica that the erstwhile commanders who walked out of their positions accused party headquarters of compelling some division commanders to embezzle party resources by frequently demanding millions from them.
"We feel that Chairman Dahal was trying to make a few commanders scapegoats for the irregularities while he himself was the one who forced cantonment commanders to send millions and millions into his personal account,” said one of those opting to resign.
The chain of command at all seven cantonments was structured in such a way that there could be no financial irregularities without close collusion between the deputy commanders and Chairman Dahal, he added.
“But we see a clear intention on the party of Dahal to punish a few commanders while giving a clean chit to those who were actually involved in the embezzlements,” said the commanders.
According to sources, Dahal´s statement on Wednesday about strong action against those involved in financial irregularities also instigated the ex-commanders to resign en masse. "The resignation en masse was an answer to the warning from Dahal, who in fact was the main individual behind the whole saga of irregularities," said a commander.
Sources close to Dahal told Republica that he was planning to suspend 3rd division commander Dhan Bahadur Maski Magar, 5th division commander Kali Bahadur Kham and 4th division commander Tej Bahadur Oli on the charge that they were the main culprits behind the irregularities.
Of the three division commanders, Maski Magar, Kham and Oli were party central committee members
Similarly, 2nd division commander Suk Bahadur Roka Magar, 1st division commander Yam Bahadur Adhikari and 6th division commander Mahendra Bahadur Shahi have also tendered their resignations.
Maoists form probe commissions
The UCPN (Maoist) has formed two probe commissions and asked both commissions to submit their reports to party headquarters within a month. The three-member first commission led by Post Bahadur Bogati has been assigned to investigate financial irregularities at PLA cantonments and it includes politburo member Hitaraj Pande and central committee member Dor Prasad Upadhyaya as members.
Similarly, the other commission, formed under the leadership of party standing committee member Amik Sherchan, has been asked to investigate the properties owned by party leaders. Politburo members Lokendra Bista Magar and Nabaraj Subedi are the other two members of the commission.